- Check safety devices. Test smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors and replace batteries as needed. (Tip, if you replace the batteries in one device, go ahead and change them all. Set a calendar reminder to do it again in the spring per fire safety experts’ recommendation to replace batteries two times a year.) While you’re at it, check the expiration date on your fire extinguisher and replace if needed.
- Test home for radon. Radon is a colorless, odorless naturally-occurring radioactive gas that’s produced by decaying uranium and present in nearly all soils. Long-term exposure to high levels can cause lung cancer so it’s important to test your home at least every two years per the EPA. Radon gas can enter the home through gaps in walls and floors and is more likely to get trapped in the cooler months, so the fall is a great time to test for the presence of radon in your home. Purchase a kit online or from your local hardware store.
- Clean dryer vents. It’s important to prevent lint buildup in dryer vents to increase efficiency and prevent fires. Static electricity can ignite built-up lint and worsens in the fall, making now the perfect time to tackle this project. Follow these instructions to do it yourself or hire a professional.
- Change air filters. It’s recommended that HEPA filters be replaced every 12 to 18 months, carbon filters every three to six months, pre-filters cleaned every 30 days and replaced when worn out, and permanent filters cleaned every three months and replaced when damaged. Write the date on the filter and set a calendar reminder to replace it when needed.
- Ready fireplace and chimney. Inspect and clean your fireplace and chimney. (Stock up on firewood while you’re at it!)
- Prep kitchen for the holidays. Take a day to deep clean the kitchen. Clean the oven, wash the garbage can and recycling bins, clean small appliances, clean the microwave and degrease the range hood and filter. While you’re at it, toss any expired items in the pantry, refrigerator and freezer to make way for holiday ingredients and leftovers.
- Check for drafts. Seal drafty windows, exterior doors and electrical outlets. For doors, install door sweeps and use weather stripping between door and side jams. For double-hung windows, add weather stripping along the top edge of the upper sash and make sure they’re locked to seal the gap between the meeting rail stopping air from coming through. Fill any big gaps, common with older windows, with temporary caulking like a backer rod. Seal electrical outlets and switch plates with insulating seals like Duck Brand Socket Sealers. Here’s a quick how to guide.
- Service gas heater.
- Clean gutters and downspouts. Wait until most of the leaves have fallen so you only have to do it once. These gutter cleaning tips can keep you safe.
- Protect outdoor furniture. Bring in outdoor furniture or cover anything immobile with weatherproof covers.
- Repair any driveway cracks. Prevent small cracks from becoming a big problem by following these steps by Home Depot.
- Prep lawn for spring. The end of summer is the best time to lay the groundwork for a lush lawn in the spring. Cut grass down to 1 to 1 ½ inches, aerate the lawn, spread aged compost where grass is sparse, distribute fertilizer using a rotary spreader, overseed, rake seeds into compost, and water. After the new grass has grown 3 inches and all the leaves have fallen, cut it back down to 1 ½ inches for a winter’s nap.
- Test outdoor lighting. Take inventory of entrance and flood lights and replace bulbs as needed.
- Drain exterior faucets and store hoses. Shut off water to exterior faucets before the weather dips below freezing. Drain and disconnect garden hoses from outside spigots and store them indoors.
- Service HVAC.
- Winterize gas grill.
If we can offer up further advice, please give us a call at (615) 292-7354.